PLEASANTVILLE – Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson announced that Elizabeth Klosky from Cornwall On Hudson, was named by Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) as a 2017 National Young Woman of Distinction, the organization’s most prestigious honor.
GSUSA selects ten National Young Women of Distinction annually among candidates who have earned their Girl Scout Gold Award®, which represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouts.
Each year, thousands of girls in grades 9–12 nationwide are recognized as Gold Award Girl Scouts for transforming an idea and vision for change into an actionable plan with measurable, sustainable, and far-reaching impact at the local, national, and global levels. Approximately 5 percent of all eligible Girl Scouts earn their Gold Award each year—and just ten girls in this already-high-achieving group receive the National Young Woman of Distinction honor. Applications are judged by previous National Young Women of Distinction, leaders from a range of fields, GSUSA executives, and a representative from the Kappa Delta Foundation, which provides the honorees with college scholarships.
For her Gold Award project, Elizabeth chose to address the public’s lack of knowledge and fear of bees, especially among children. She then took it a few leaps further by addressing the need for legislative awareness and support for bees on a state and local level, and the need for habitat protection. Her efforts to “Educate! Legislate! Populate!” began with training a team to present dozens of fun, hands-on educational activities, displays, and workshops. She then connected with environmental education organizations, museums, community gardens, and farms, as well as other groups who rely on bees and the environment.
When asked how Girl Scouts transformed her perception of what she was capable of, Elizabeth said, “I thought I would never be able to finish my Gold Award, do all these presentations or talk to people and have them listen to me about bees or why they are important. I thought people didn’t care about bees and they weren’t going to listen to me. Now I know that lots of people care about bees. I have a voice and am able to talk to people about things that are important to me.”
Earlier this year, Elizabeth also received the Prudential Spirit Award and the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes.
Last year marked the centennial of the Girl Scout Gold Award, celebrating millions of Girl Scouts past and present who have created, developed, and executed incredible “Take Action” projects to make the world a better place.
Further, a new report from the Girl Scout Research Institute, The Girl Scout Impact Study (2017), confirms that participating in Girl Scouts helps girls develop key leadership skills they need to be successful in life. Compared to their non–Girl Scout peers, Girl Scouts are more likely to be leaders because they have confidence in themselves and their abilities (80% vs. 68%), identify and solve problems in their communities (57% vs. 28%), seek challenges and learn from setbacks (62% vs. 42%), and take an active role in decision making (80% vs. 51%).
Patricia Page, CEO of Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson, said, “We are all very proud of Elizabeth for being recognized as a National Young Woman of Distinction. When she spoke at our Leadership Luncheon earlier this year, she started her speech with, “Imagine if you will, a girl who started out very nervous about speaking in public, but with news and a project she was burning to share with the whole world. She tried approaching important people she thought could help, but the words froze right in her throat. Nevertheless, she persisted. She persisted because she knew what she had to say was important, and she persisted because she knew there was a whole sea of people wearing trefoils who had her back. Over time, she gained the skills she needed, gathered an awesome team of helpers, and she led a project that was successful beyond her wildest imagination. You don’t actually have to imagine. That scenario happens every single day in Girl Scouts.”. Elizabeth is an incredible young woman and I know she will do great things Cornell University and beyond.
To honor Girl Scouts’ National Young Women of Distinction, the Kappa Delta Foundation grants the selected girls a combined $50,000 in college scholarships, reflecting Kappa Delta’s commitment to girls’ leadership and pursuit of education. This includes $5,000 for Elizabeth Klosky.
An additional $100,000 in college scholarships, which includes $10,000 for Elizabeth Klosky, is provided by Susan Bulkeley Butler, founder of the Susan Bulkeley Butler Institute for the Development of Women Leaders.
Elizabeth Klosky will be honored during the National Young Women of Distinction at G.I.R.L. 2017, the largest girl-led event in the world, October 6–8 in Columbus, Ohio. In line with the theme of the event, “Experience the Power of a G.I.R.L.,” G.I.R.L. 2017 will provide every participating girl and girl supporter with amazing opportunities to celebrate achievements, build on aspirations, get inspired, and gain the tools girls need to empower themselves and create change in their communities―both locally and globally.
Being named a National Young Woman of Distinction, earning the Girl Scout Gold Award, and receiving generous scholarships are just a few of the countless experiences girls have through Girl Scouts. To join or learn about volunteering, please visitwww.girlscouts.org/join.